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Chemistry LibreTexts

4: Evaluating Analytical Data

When using an analytical method we make three separate evaluations of experimental error. First, before beginning an analysis we evaluate potential sources of errors to ensure that they will not adversely effect our results. Second, during the analysis we monitor our measurements to ensure that errors remain acceptable. Finally, at the end of the analysis we evaluate the quality of the measurements and results, comparing them to our original design criteria. This chapter provides an introduction to sources of error, to evaluating errors in analytical measurements, and to the statistical analysis of data.

Thumbnail: The blue vertical line segments represent multiple realizations of a confidence interval for the population mean μ, represented as a red horizontal dashed line; note that some confidence intervals do not contain the population mean, as expected. Image used with permission (Public Domain; Tsyplakov) .